tv Inside Washington PBS April 2, 2011 2:05am-2:30am EDT
could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the contents of the world. it was not in our national interest to let that happen. i refused to let that happen. >> 10 days before the speech, an american aircraft launched attacks on libyan at military targets on the ground. to paraphrase the president, mark, why was it in our national interest to intervene in this manner? >> to avoid a bloodbath, the president's explanation for it. that is the only reason until the results come in, and we are far from having results. >> nina? .> mark's right ey i found the speech is somewhat reassuring, but if you try to diagram it, it is difficult. >> evan?
>> it was a pretty good speech, and he made the point of this one-off, buone-time. i am not sure it is good policy but it was a good speech. >> charles? >> it was clearly laid, and surgeon, and the u.s., and i think half-hearted -- late, uncertain, and he was, and i think have parted. that is wide the war will become increasingly more unpopular. >> the president said that if we had not acted, the massacre would have given the thousands of additional refugees across libya's quarters, but enormous strains on the peaceful yet fragile transition in tunisia and egypt. political columnist roger simon it says that this is the new domino theory. >> obama was trying to make the case that it was not just
humanitarian, it is also strategically important. the argument he made is the one you cited, and it is not at all convincing. egypt has 80 million people. it would not have destabilized it. he was reaching a, trying to find something so he could say "i sent people into battle on behalf of our national interest." it was purely a humanitarian intervention, but it was so late and half-hearted -- look, the rebels are fleeing east. they have lost all the territory they took, and now they're back in benghazi. now what happens? there would have been a difference if we had done it earlier. i'm afraid that we are in a time when there are no simple answers here. all these things are ambiguous, and the president was right about one. -- we did it the other way in
iraq and it did not work out the particularly will either. >> the guy who coined the phrase "domino theory" was by eisenhower, who understood that we are all-in or all-out. he did not get involved in vietnam, because he understood that we could get sucked into these things. the test for me is if this is what a job or if we inevitably get sucked in. if we get sucked in, it is a mistake. >> there is no obama doctrine in the sense of the monroe doctrine or truman doctrine. proactive, pragmatic -- is that what it is? >> i think that is exactly what it is. he went to great efforts that this was a one-time-only, not to be confused with the powell doctrine, now effectively repeal by two administrations. what you have on the ground in
libya is a military force that is a ragtag at best, carrying rifles, and in an openagainst heavy artillery and armor -- open space against heavy artillery and armor. >> in his nobel prize acceptance speech, he said, "i believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds. inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to a more costly intervention later." but he also said that america cannot act alone. is this consistent with what he said in oslo? >> it is dead in a lot of this depends on if we get lucky, and if -- it is. a lot of this depends on if we get lucky, and gaddafi feels the squeeze, it will be a good strategy. if we have no control over this and he hangs on and it is a bloody civil war and we get sucked in -- >> it could at end up two
countries, to. just imagine for one second if we had stood by and hundreds of thousands or even tens of thousands of people were killed and there were pictures of that. we have a way of going on in the middle east. i don't know what is going to happen, but everybody agrees that it is a very historic moment. an historic moment of epic proportions, and i could have led to enormously bad results -- that could have led to enormous the bad results immediately for our role in this epic moments. >> the reason everybody understands that he cannot act solely on a humanitarian basis is because if we did, we would be involved everywhere -- condo, sudan -- and we would not be able to sustain ourselves for six months. we are not on advantage. -- we are not omnipotent. it has to have an important
strategic reason. in th -- that case obama has not made. >> there is a strategic reason, and i think nina alluded to it. we are being watched all over, and if we had done nothing as the freedom movement gets going, we would be helpless in the eyes of people seeking freedom. >> with the bad guys are, but who are the good guys? >> we have seen flickers and intelligence of potential al qaeda, as the law. -- hezbollah. >> that is the top commander of nato. who are these people? who are the rebels? >> we don't know. again, it is all a wing and a prior -- prayer. we are hoping the people we are supporting in benghazi are -- at least have more good guys and that al qaeda and others of that sort -- than al qaeda and others
of that sort. we know that there are al qaeda types, because intelligence says that among the fighters in iraq we thought were al qaeda, the highest per capita or eastern libyans, are now that area. not a promising beginning, nonetheless, the reason we have cia agents on the ground, who was bad, how reliable the good guys are. >> there was a presidential secret "finding" authorizing the cia to carry a clandestine missions and supply arms to certain tribal groups of rebels. >> first of all, the u.s. military and intelligence, particularly the cia, go to great lengths to stress that violence islamists are a minor element in this anti-gaddafi movement and have been up to this point. gaddafi himself suggests and
argues that al qaeda is behind everything against him. the cia covert action in libya is there for a couple of purposes. first of all, one of the great problems that has emerged is that the gaddafi troops wearing civilian guard had infiltrated into the rebels and confused the air attack, so that it has. made it. they want to identify where they are and deploy them. and setting off grenade launchers to identify where the rebels are -- it has allowed the gaddafi forces to use heavy artillery against them. it will be to bring some sense of command and control. >> i keep thinking of "charlie wilson's war." all of a sudden, the law of unintended consequences. >> secretary gates said he did not want to get into the arm ing business.
i am more worried about gaddafi himself. gaddafi is maybe mad like a fox, but a mad person, a lot of weaponry, a history as a terrorist. that is what you have to keep your eye on. >> the secretary of defense said openly that there will be no american goods on the ground. you up to ask yourself, what is going on with the cia people in benghazi? they are wearing slippers. >> the president made a speech at georgetown university -- after a decade, we've got to cut our dependence on foreign oil by 1/3. how is he going to do this, nina? >> ever president in modern times, going i think in model reagan -- ronald reagan --
george w. bush, we're going to make a switch grass into oil. this was not much better and i stopped paying attention. >> the gas tax -- you have to have a big revenue jump on energy or nothing good happens. >> charles has been talking about this or as long as i have known him. >> 1983, my first piece on that i have given up. >> i guess i've been around longer. richard nixon was the first on this. >> you are right. >> it might have been the same teleprompter. [laughter] energy independence, nationalism has become some of the underlying premise -- >> i would make two points. it looks as if the president's policy on oil is a drill in brazil. second, he said that we would cut oil imports by one/league starting from the day of my
swearing in. why did he take that day? today we import 9.7 million barrels because of recession. he has not lifted a finger. the man is hope and change. [laughter] >> no comment. >> they want to shut the government down and turn you into their scapegoat and to say is that tea party's fought for shutting the government down. >> that is minnesota congressman michelle bachmann. tea party folks one big, big cuts. the latest figures on unemployment are down to 8.8%, 216,000 jobs added last month. house speaker john boehner -- is cia top spot? -- is he in a tough spot? >> he is, but less so on friday, because of the tea party rally
getting 200 people. the muscle that they promise to deliver and the threats that they delivered john boehner is seen a lot more hollow that they did last year. he has got a tough job. the republicans want to unveil the 2012 budget next week. they cannot do it as the government is closing down. paul ryan is their star. they have touted him as if he is the second coming. they have to have the stage is set for him, and it cannot include the curtain coming down on the government and social security checks held up in the mail. >> he is right, but i want to correct your introduction saying that the tea party wanted big, big cuts. the big the cuts are $30 billion in addition to what democrats want. the budget for this year's 307 at -- 750,000 -- the point is,
it is minuscule. isn't saying that we will shut down the government when we have a $1.60 trillion deficit -- as in say that we will shut down the government when we have a $1.60 trillion. republicans need to make a compromise and -- >> shutting down the government really is no joke. it is the kind of thing that would send us right back into recession. not something to be proud of. >> somewhat failing to raise the debt limit. there is not an economist in the world -- >> let me move on to campaign finance. quick word on mitt romney, raised almost $2 million the first few months of the year as he is preparing for another presidential run, as we all now. none of the likely republican presidential candidates, it seems to me, will take public funding.
president obama won't. he didn't last time. is this the end of public funding? >> it ended at the summer of 2008, when barack obama, because he could out raise john mccain, became the first president since richard nixon to run a privately-funded campaign. it imposed limits on what i could give to your campaign, but what also you as a candidate could spend. now the top is gone, the limits are off, and president obama's campaign is pledging to raise a billion dollars in 2012. >> when we combine with the candidates have done, like barack obama and others before him, and the united states who hascourt, gripped most of the regulations on spending completely off -- >> corporate spending.
>> corporate spending and unions bennett, you cannot possibly take -- public take money -- union spending, but you cannot possibly take public money. i am not sure where that is right to go in terms of democracy. >> you can buy congressmen. it is hard to buy up president. i don't think this will cause candidates to go one way or the other eye policy terms. i think it is much more of a problem at the local level. >> i agree. political speech all speech is the most precious and the least regulated is the good thing. >> not to be pollyannas, but if you can determine who the two candidates are, that is where money plays a part. a republican boss in the 20th century said that two things matter in politics. money is the first, and i cannot remember the second.
[laughter] >> you might want to check out jeanne cummings' peace in ataboutco," firefighters and other unions. >> the biggest loss democrats suffered in 2010 were white, blue-collar, non-college educated voters, male. >> i would think those in the private sector would outnumber those in the government sector by a law. -- by a lot. if the issue is whether or not what happened in wisconsin is going to help or, it is either a wash or it is quite to help republicans. >> i could not disagree more with krauthammer. two at 03 right now are opposed to the repeal of collective bargaining for public employees, let alone private
employees. >> four years ago, eight republicans were ready to go, claiming they were ready to be president. what is going on with the republican party? >> let's go back 20 years. 1991, there was a sense among democrats that george bush was strong, a ward 0, unbeatable, and it took a clinton from the outside to do this. obama is strong, and they are overestimating how strong he is, but look at the unemployment number. it went down, and it looks like we are at the beginning of a self sustaining recovery, which means that if you look into next year, he will be strong on election day. second, the republicans have a strong young bench. marco rubio, nikki haley, chris christie, paul ryan, but they all look like they will be candidates in 2016. a little bit presumptuous, a little bit young. that is why everybody sort of hesitated and looking around -- >> they lose their fox contr
acts -- to be virginia, now it is fox. >> they are writing into the ambush -- >> going after a medicaid and social security? >> some obviously do. there is a time when the father is were jefferson and jackson, now it is roger ailes and rock -- and rupert murdoch. cash the check. as mike huckabee was candid in saying, a tough race for the nomination, and then the president is sitting there a year from now, 14 months from now, with $1 billion and in a
primary challenge. if there were a primary challenge against president obama, which i don't see on the horizon, he would see more republicans in the race. >> i bring this up every week, because to be a is very important. does anybody have a candidate besides romney? >> there is an event that happens. something happens in the world which could create the circumstances that would bring a republican in. but the money thing is interesting, because you have to get that going. you cannot wait until the last second. >> mccain has challenged the president on some of the things he said on libya, and other candidates have tiptoed around him -- >> you watch both the right and left on libya, and it is not like a tennis match. nobody agrees on anything. that is probably the best thing
we have going on libya, which is that the right is divided, the left is divided -- >> the only thing that matters on libya is how it turns out in the end. everything else is irrelevant. if gaddafi classes, he is a hero -- if gaddafi collapses, he is a hero. >> two quick points. one, muammar gaddafi became leader of libya when barack obama was in third grade. seven american presidency has outlasted -- seven american presidents he has outlasted. that is the challenge here that will determine whether this is a wise policy, a prudent policy. the most logical critic on this has been richard lugar, the closest republican he was 2 when he was in the senate. chris christie has one chance to
run for president. this is his chance in 2012. it is a different world in 2016. >> murdoch and ailes will never come to be jefferson and madison, but history will remember them as the people who broke the liberal monopoly on american news. [laughter] >> wal-mart may be a bigger company, but they are not enough that they cannot be challenged in court of law. >> that is betty dukes, one of six women suing wal-mart corp. for sexual discrimination. this is about more than 1 million women, right? >> it is a class action suit. the supreme court said it was going to review whether there could be a class this big. the minute this court said it was going to review that, it was clear to all of us who watch the court that the answer was going to be no, clearly no. the only interesting and
unpredictable think in some ways about the outcome was that there were few -- there are a few women on the c andour -- the court now, far more sympathetic to the notion of this case, how you could have discretion for thousands of managers. they added to that point and i don't think the man at particularly did -- they understood that that point and i don't think the man particularly did. as justice ginsburg said, there is serious trouble with how you handle that suit. >> to me, this is less about women in that trial lawyers -- than trial lawyers. they are the chief beneficiaries and dialing that back is a worthwhile goal. >> tell me how you get rich unless you get a big judgment. >> this is all about pay.
>> but it is all part of these big classes and generally, lawsuits -- >> continuing high tide against trial lawyers. >> which i endorse. let me add that scalia, who at par to questions on this hearing, got a ticket and showed up and was absolutely ornery, as he usually is -- >> but he was on time. >> geraldine ferraro, walter mondale's running mate -- you have a story. >> i recall the day she was chosen, and we're not supposed to be subjective and emotional. i was, and whether you are a mother or daughter or sister or wife, he could not watch -- >> i have a mother. >> then you had a similar feeling. >> i don't remember it.
>> ronald reagan's pollster it died last week, and he told me that every night of the 1984 campaign, the one night of the whole year when walter mondale led ronald reagan was the day he chose geraldine ferraro as his running mate. he got a boost, it just did not last. >> i covered the campaign. it was the first campaign i have ever been on that it was majority female. now it is common. she really did break a glass ceiling that was significant for everybody. for a transcript of this broadcast, log on to insidewashington.tv.